Folk Etymology inLanguage Jessica BhatiaSan Diego StateUniversity Folk Etymology Miller (2014) acknowledges the roleof folk etymology in development of languages in various parts of the world.
The author establishes the relationship between folk etymology and the wordforming process. According to Miller (2014), there are various factors thatinteract to cause changes in language and sound. However, he asserts that folketymology is the core aspect that affects language and sound change. To expoundon how folk etymology results in change in language and sound, he firstrecognizes the fact that change in language mostly goes along with sematic andphonetic reduction.
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With respect to grammar, the process of grammaticalizationindicate that reduction in complexities of sematic and phonetic are fundamentalstages of raising the status of grammatical constructions. The article addsthat in relation to lexicalization, sematic and phonetic reduction causes theformerly transparent, analytic, and motivated words to lose motivation and theend result is holistic formations as well as none-transparent developments(Miller, 2014). Theories are also used to explain the role of folk etymology onchanges in language and sound. Gorrell (1994) applied the naturalness theory toexplain the connection. According toGorrell (1994), the sematic complexity ought to correspond to formalconvolution. On the other hand, the formal intricacy must as well match tosematic complexity. Despite the fact that lexicalization and grammaticalizationare capable of restoring constructional iconism through giving function andform to semantics, Gorrell (1994) engages in trying to establish an explanationon how de-lexicalization and de-gramaticalization can be applied to achievesimilar outcomes. In reference to Gorrell’s explanations, de-lexicalizationgoes along with restoration of motivation as well as segmentation of lexicalunits and opaque morphological.
According to Gorrell (1994), the process isprototypically and conventionally embodied in folk etymology (Gorrell, 1994). According to Rundblad and Kronenfeld(2003), acquisition of language plays a core role in folk etymology and theetymology can be considered as language acquisition. The authors relies on thelanguage acquisition process in children to establish how acquiring newlanguage is significant to folk etymology.
It can also take place among adultsas they acquire new words or when they learn a second language. At some point,Miller (2014) also recognizes the role of first language attainment in folketymology. Rundblad and Kronenfeld seem to have a similar line of thinking asMiller in relation to the association between acquisition of first language andfolk etymology. In reference to the combined thinking of the authors,acquisition of first language is fundamental in regard to folk etymologybecause it mirrors the need of a speaker to create natural form meaningassociations as well as demonstrating such perfect signs in chain structures thatdo not use marked sounds through selecting fragments that are easier topronounce. Acquisition of new language acquisition stands a crucial proof forpropensities of languages to re-establish constructional iconism. All the same,the general challenge of restricted power for children to initiate languagechange should as well be well thought-out as an obstructive force behind theestablishment of the particular folk etymologies (Rundblad & Kronenfeld,2003). Bauer (2006) narrates about certainaspects that cause misunderstandings in regard to folk etymology and itseffects on sound and language change.
The author asserts that people might failto clearly understand how folk etymology affects the change in language andsound because of the few facets that cause confusion. One of the things thatBauer (2006) points out is the difference between phonetic or else sematicchange and word formation change. An understanding of the two factions isfundamental to understanding how folk etymology is responsible for language andsound transformation. Change in word formation is concerned with changes ofpatterns in meaning and form. On the other hand, sematic and phonetic changeconcentrates on meaning of words and forms. However, Bauer (2006) insists thatthe differences do not apply to to the differentiation between sematic orphonetic and folk etymology change because there are many phonetic and sematicchanges that are caused by process of folk etymology. As a way of clearlybringing out his explanation, the author says that there is a wide variationbetween changes in natural language for instance sematic or phonetic languageand changes that go back to folk etymology. According to the author, the maindifference is based on the domains on which the two sections operate.
Sematicand phonetic transformations operate in specific domains; sematic developmentsor the changes in the internal sounds of words. Folk etymology functionsbetween two spheres; particular changes that occur as a result of word externalannexation to varied fields of words. The analysis of the process of languageand sound changes by the author indicates that folk etymology causestransformation in languages and sounds by fashioning the essential isolation ofthe elements of words and leading to homonymy with words and phrases that arealready in existence. Bauer (2006) says his position on the effects of folketymology on language and sound changes is supported by the fact that thesignificance of analogy as a force that causes change in natural language isextremely borderline for folk etymology. Gorrell (1994) and Miller (2014)indicate similar views on how folk etymology is wrongfully applied to refer toother means that do not reflect its effects in language development and change.Gorrell (1994) points out how many linguists give folk etymology a same meaningas blending. Gorrell recognizes the role of blending in language and soundchange but its effect is different from folk etymology. The author describesblending as mere contamination of words by mixing two words to form one word.
Blending comprises two words that fuse semantically and formerly to form asingle word for example formation of the word smog as a result of mixing thewords smoke and fog. On the contrary, the words involved in folk etymology donot fuse semantically or phonetically. The author adds that unlike folketymology, blending does not result in transparency to make archetypal blendssimplexes (Gorrell 1994). The existing research studies focusmajorly on general issues that are behind change in language and sounds. It isrecommended that future research be more detailed and establish the exactmechanisms that cause language change and how the change occurs.
Mostresearchers concur with each other on the causes of language change but fail togive a clear description of how the aspects change language and sounds. Futureresearch need to find detailed answers on questions like; how does articulatorysimplification cause change in language? Can spelling pronunciation change themeaning of a word, if yes, how? The studies must also establish how acombination of multiple factors known to change language and sounds affect thechange in language and sounds. ReferencesBauer, L.(2006). Folk Etymology. Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics,520-521. doi:10.
1016/b0-08-044854-2/04250-4Gorrell, R. M.(1994). Watch your language!: Mother tongue and her wayward children.Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press.Miller, D. G.
(2014). Folk etymology and tabu. English Lexicogenesis, 117-124.doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199689880.
003.0007Rundblad, G.,& Kronenfeld, D. B. (2003).
The inevitability of folk etymology:a case of collective reality and invisible hands. Journal of Pragmatics, 35(1),119-138. doi:10.1016/s0378-2166(02)00059-0